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International Diploma Programme News

08 juni 2016

This week has been a very busy one for the Year 12 students.

They have been working in groups on their Group 4 project for Science. They are working on an overall theme of sport and each group of students has representation from the different sciences. This means that any given group will be undertaking experiments based on an area of sport with elements of Biology, Physics, Chemistry and ESS. On Thursday 16 June, the presentations themselves will be made and this will be an opportunity to discuss the project with the students themselves.

Earlier in the week, we had Higher Education sessions to introduce students to some of the processes they will need to follow for their applications to university. This follows on from the numerous information sessions that have been taking place throughout the year as well as individual student interviews which took place last week.

On Wednesday, our Geography students did some work to prepare for the urban planning fieldwork they will do in Pnomh Penh at the end of the CAS trip. They spent the morning in downtown Shanghai, practising some of the techniques they will employ in Cambodia.

Finally, Friday was our TOK presentation planning day. Students worked in groups to prepare their final presentations which they will be delivering on 29 and 30 June. Each presentation is based upon a Real Life Situation which students select in their groups. They then identify a knowledge question associated with this which they analyse using a Theory of Knowledge framework.

This time of year is particularly busy for Year 12 students who are also working feverishly to complete their Extended Essay research. They will be uploading their essay outlines before Friday 17 June.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy

Creativity, Activity, Service


The third strand of CAS is Service, which is defined as a collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need. This is the strand that is sometimes new to our students and provides memorable and often life changing experiences which helps them to understand that they are members of local and global communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment. We encourage our students to use the five stages of service learning whilst carrying out these experiences – investigation, planning, action, reflection and demonstration.  Reflection once again plays a key role, as students describe what happened, express feelings, generate ideas and raise questions. By doing so students can revise plans, learn from the experience, and make connections between their growth, accomplishments and the learning outcomes for personal awareness possibly leading to new action. 

There are four different types of service that students engage in:

·         Direct service - for example tutoring, facilitating sessions at the Qing Pu Xiulong Migrant School, CAS trip to Cambodia.

·         Indirect service – for example students have created revision material and English learning material for others in the community.

·         Advocacy – for example all Year 12s took part in RAG week where they had to raise awareness for a particular charity, the ECO Committee raising awareness of the impact we have on the environment.

·         Research – for example students have helped complete research tasks for Huaxin Rehabilitation Centre, the ECO Committee have researched the energy consumption of the school.Through service, students develop and apply personal and social skills in real-life situations involving decision-making, problem-solving, initiative, responsibility, and accountability for their actions.

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator

Higher Education

Decoding Your New SAT Scores

For students who have already taken, or are planning to take, the new SAT, you will be aware that the scoring for the test has changed significantly. The scores from the first administration of the test are now out – as well as the concordance tables. Below is a guide to reading, interpreting, and converting the new SAT scores.

How to Read Your Score Report

The biggest change to the SAT scoring is the scale. No longer will the test be scored out of 2400 – the test will now use the 1600 scale – which used to be the standard before 2007. Previously, ¼ of a point was deducted for wrong answers, but now there’s no penalty for incorrect responses.

For students who are awaiting their scores, there are a few different components that will make up your score report. It’s not just the total score that you – and universities – will receive. Students will receive 18 scores, which will be made up of the total score with a combination of section, test, cross test, subscore, and essay scores (should you take the optional essay).

Here is a breakdown of the different scores you will receive.


Number of Scores You Will Receive

Score Breakdown

Score Range

Total score


Sum of the two section scores.


Section scores


Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math


Test scores


Reading, Writing and Language, and Math


SAT Essay scores (If you take the essay portion of the exam)


Reading, Analysis, and Writing


Cross-test scores


Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science.




Reading and Writing and Language: Command of Evidence, Words in Context

Writing and Language: Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions

Math: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math


What Your SAT Scores Mean

So you have all these new scores in addition to your composite, but what do they mean? How can you use them to assess your college admissions chances or determine which areas need improvement?

The College Board stresses that, when evaluating your scores, not to consider the number absolute. In fact, they propose that students look at the score as “a range that extends from a few points below to a few points above the score earned.” For example, “section scores for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and for Math fall in a range of roughly 30 to 40 points above or below your true ability.” Colleges are given this information, and use it when evaluating applicants’ test scores. This is important information to consider when determining whether or not to retake the SAT in order to improve and reach your goal score.

The new score report will also show you where your test scores, cross-test scores, and subscores compare to averages and benchmarks, and are color coded to show you where you’ve excelled and where you need improvement. Green scores meet or exceed the benchmarks, yellow scores approach the benchmark, and red scores are below the benchmarks and are areas where you need to improve.

The essay score is also a big change – with students who take the optional essay portion receiving three scores. The essay is actually graded by two readers who each award 1-4 points in three categories– reading, writing, and analysis – and these scores are added together and reported on a 2-8 scale. A score of 2-4 shows that you need to make vast improvements to that particular area, while scores of 6-8 show that you have a good command of those components. If you are applying to colleges that request the writing portion of the SAT, it’s important to understand how the essay is scored and what’s necessary in order to receive a high mark on that section.

SAT and ACT Score Conversions

One of the most pervasive questions students and parents have about the new SAT is how the new total scores compare to the old test and the ACT. The College Board recently released its concordance tables

Colleges will be looking at concordance in order to determine the median scores students need in order be considered for admission. Since the current benchmarks are based on the old scores, they’ll need to convert them in order to compare to this year’s scores, and also compare scores between students since there will likely be a mix of old and new SAT scores in this year’s applicant pools. For example, Harvard currently states that “The 25th percentile for admitted students on the SAT is about 2100; the 75th percentile is about 2350.” Students will need to convert those scores to the new SAT scale in order to determine where their scores fall in that range. Based on the new concordance, the 25th percentile will be about 1470 and the 75th percentile will be about 1580. Of course, standardized test scores alone won’t gain a student admission – even if you score a perfect 1600 – but failing to fall within that benchmark can send your application to the “no” pile quickly.

Interpreting your SAT scores is important in order to set realistic college admission goals and build a balanced list of best-fit colleges. Again, a great SAT or ACT score isn’t the ticket into your dream college, but it is an important factor that colleges consider when evaluating applications.

                  Mark Weston, Higher Education Advisor

Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

This week and next are just as important as the actual week of internal exams. How students react to their scores and being given back their papers is an extremely important part of the process. Sometimes it may be difficult if students are disappointed with a score but it is so imperative that students not only reflect on their grades but also on their revision before and during the exams. We have given students a questionnaire that is for them only that will give them a chance to think about how they prepared for the exams and how high did they keep their work levels during the exam process. On the whole, we have been impressed with students silently working in the IB area or taking themselves away to another room in order to talk through their notes with each other. There have been times however, where students need to reflect and think that revision without headphones plugged in is going to be much more productive than revision with. It is important that students refine this process for the mock exams which will happen in November. Please talk to them and ask, what did you do well? What do you need to improve for next time?

IB Diploma Programme Deadlines

Year 12 students have one more week before their exciting experience begins in Cambodia. This is a great trip and an integral part of the CAS part of the IB Diploma Programme with students getting a feel for a different culture as well as helping those less fortunate. I am very excited for them. It is therefore important that nothing is left hanging over students as they go on this trip and they keep up with the deadlines set for them. In particular it is important that their extended essay outline and exploration/maths project outline is also complete and agreed by the teacher.

The Year 12 deadlines for this week and next are below:

Date Due


Work Due



First 6 pages of independent study



Presentation planning documents


English Lang and Lit




Independent study first draft

Week beginning 13/06/16

Maths HL/SL/Studies SL

Agreed title and topic for maths exploration


German A



German A

Written task 2 – final draft


Extended Essay

Research complete and outlines uploaded

IB Learner Profile

This week it is incredibly important for students to reflect on their internal exams. They will be given opportunities by their teachers as well as by their form tutors to reflect not only what they did well and what they didn’t but also a chance to reflect on the whole process. All students will have ways in which they can prepare more thoroughly for exams and the important thing is they must not shy away from what they can do better or what their weaknesses are. They need to face these challenges head on with determination. As your reading this I hope you are thinking that they must therefore be a risk taker!

Thomas Housham, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator